Entries from December 2009 ↓
December 8th, 2009 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Word Banks
Last time, I gave you a Christmas word bank centered on the birth of Jesus and the traditional Christmas story. Now you can enjoy yet another holiday word bank (or several, when divided into categories), perfect for those jingle-jolly creative writing activities, acrostics, poems, and more!
Christmas Word Bank: Ho, ho, ho!
Here Comes Santa Claus
Christmas Eve, December, holiday, yuletide, North Pole, elf, elves, workshop, Christmas list, letter, sleigh, bells, ring, jingle, jolly, beard, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle, reindeer, Rudolph, red nose, snow, chimney, fireplace, hearth, sack, stocking, stocking stuffers, coal, toys, dolls, train set, candy canes, puppy, mittens
Deck the Halls
Shopping, crowds, stores, traffic, city, village, town, mail, cards, envelope, package, wrap, tie, exchange, presents, gifts, boxes, wrapping paper, tags, ribbon, bows, stickers, tape, gleaming, shiny, sparkling, glowing, twinkling, blinking, red, green, silver, gold, white, clear, decorations, cards, candles, votives, walnuts, nutcracker, Santa hat, mistletoe, holly, ivy, poinsettias, berries, pears, wreath, garland, fir, pine, trimming the tree, tinsel, glitter, tree skirt, tree-topper, lights, ornaments, baubles, bulbs, stars, snowflakes, pine cones, popcorn strings, tin soldier, cranberries, angel, glass, ball, icicle
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
Christmas dinner, feast, roasting, carving, ham, turkey, goose, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, chestnuts, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, plum pudding, mincemeat pie, gingerbread house, decorate, icing, frosting, candies, sugar cookies, gingerbread men, fudge, fruitcake, eggnog, punch, stollen, sugar plums, figgy pudding
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Friends, family, grandparents, giving, gathering, visits, reunion, traditions, Advent calendar, Christmas story, church, stained glass, nativity set, carolers, carols, music, singing, happy, festive, merry, greetings, joy, peace, tidings, noel
Copyright 2009 © Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.
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Stay tuned! A frosty, freezy Winter Word Bank is coming next week!
Photo by Vanessa Pike-Russell courtesy of Creative Commons 2.0.
December 6th, 2009 — Reluctant Writers, Stumbling Blocks to Writing, Teaching Writing
Welcome! We’re halfway through our Monday series on 10 Stumbling Blocks to Writing. Thus far we’ve looked at five problems that plague reluctant writers:
- Lack of confidence
- Lack of skills and tools
- Lack of motivation
- Limited writing vocabulary
- Perfectionism and self-criticism
Today, I’m going to change direction a bit and address a different kind of stumbling block: laziness. More than any of the previous hurdles, laziness tends to be a character issue, making it a little more challenging to deal with.
Stumbling Block #6
Problem: The lazy child is unwilling to spend time planning, writing, and revising.
Solution: Structure, rewards, more consistent supervision, and opportunities for immediate success.
If your child is lazy about writing, chances are he’s lazy in other areas too. Laziness is more global, affecting multiple facets of home and school life. It robs him of a sense of accomplishment, feelings of self-worth, and motivation to improve himself. How can he learn anything or pick up a new skill or develop a talent if he’s too lazy to get up and do something?
How Can You Help Your Lazy Child?
A lazy child often fears failure. So by not completing assignments, he avoids those feelings of inadequacy. If I don’t do my work at all, there’s no way Mom can criticize my writing. He may also have learned that if he doesn’t do an assignment, you’ll eventually forget about it or simply let it slide. This proves to him that laziness works. Unfortunately, he wins.
So what can you do to help a lazy student?
Consistently Address Your Child’s Laziness
1. Determine whether it’s laziness or procrastination. The procrastinator will—eventually—get the assignment done, but the lazy student may never do the task.
2. Supervise your child. As inconvenient as this may be, direct supervision is really the main way to deal with this behavior. So first and foremost, make your lazy student work! This may mean that you need to sit with him until he finishes each task, but stick it out and don’t give up on him!
3. Learn what motivates or helps your lazy child. For instance:
- Does he thrive on recognition? Then don’t save all your praise for a final draft that may or may not materialize. Instead, make sure you’re giving kudos for small steps of progress along the way.
- Does he doubt himself? A lazy student may not believe he has any strengths, writing included! So encourage a sport or hobby where he shows interest and aptitude (baking, drawing, tennis, etc.).
Understand What Profits the Lazy Child
1. Choices. The unmotivated student benefits from having choices, such as what topic to write about or whether to do his writing assignment at his desk or the kitchen table.
2. A predictable plan. This child needs to know exactly what to do each day and when assignments are due. He’ll also gain from having smaller, short-term responsibilities in which immediate success can be readily achieved.
3. Structure. To guarantee that your slothful student actually does the work, you must make sure the steps of the writing process are built into the program so there’s no escaping the responsibility. A program like WriteShop ensures that the student must, for example, brainstorm before writing, and must edit and revise before receiving a grade.
4. Time limits. Open-ended deadlines are not a lazy student’s privilege. Give and stick to time limits. Expect him to complete a certain amount of work in a set amount of time.
5. Meeting lesson expectations. Make sure your student understands what is required of him. He needs measurable targets, not fuzzy instructions. Specific, detailed directions are invaluable to the lazy child.
6. A certain amount of responsibility. Your student must learn to be responsible for completing assignments, following directions, and revising his work. Your job is to provide supervision, encouragement, structure, and deadlines in order to help him learn diligence.
7. Using a writing checklist. Proofreading is an important lifelong skill. Self-editing helps any student take responsibility for his progress as he learns (and takes the time) to look for his own errors. Ideally, the lazy student needs some sort of checklist as a guide to help him identify errors in content, style, and mechanics.
- A checklist (such as the comprehensive checklists found in WriteShop I) reminds him of every element that needs his attention. As he compares his rough draft to the checklist, he can make corrections and improvements.
- A lazy student’s tendency is to check the boxes willy-nilly with eyes glazed over. But the diligent parent will recognize this character flaw in her child and work THROUGH the writing assignment with him to develop the qualities of diligence, discipline, and initiative. Eventually, through parental perseverance, your student will learn that writing is a process—and editing and revising are as much a part of that process as the actual writing.
8. Rewards for accomplishments. Depending on your child’s age, consider using a progress chart, marble jar, or other reward system where he can earn rewards (such as going out for ice cream) or free time privileges (such as minutes to play video games or watch TV).
Laziness has a cousin in procrastination, which is Stumbling Block #7. Visit next Monday’s blog to learn how to help your procrastinator finish her writing assignments.
Share a comment: Do you have a lazy student? What, if anything, seems to motivate him or her?
Leaving a comment at any Stumbling Blocks article enters you into a drawing for a $25 WriteShop gift certificate. You can earn up to eleven chances in the drawing by commenting on all eleven articles!
2009 © Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.
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WriteShop provides schedules, checklists, and detailed instructions that help a lazy student stay on task. Parent supervision is also a key element of the program. Train your little ones early using WriteShop Primary. For older students, choosing WriteShop I and II will help you equip and inspire successful writers!
December 4th, 2009 — Brainstorming, Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Writing Games & Activities
“Write a paragraph about celebrating Christmas.”
Seems easy enough, right? But to struggling writers, this kind of assignment is not only unhelpful, it’s also fear-inducing—for the simple reason that it’s just too vague.
The 5 Ws
All children—but especially reluctant writers—benefit from a blueprint that lets them know what’s expected and how to achieve their goal. Using the 5 Ws—who, what, when, where, why (and also how)—helps children organize their thoughts before writing. It’s a great brainstorming tool that alleviates the insecurity of writer’s block and encourages more fluent writing.
A Blueprint for Writing
Create a simple graphic organizer to help a young or reluctant child brainstorm, plan, and organize a paragraph about celebrating Christmas.
- Who celebrates Christmas with me?
- What things do we do? How do we celebrate? In what ways?
- When do we celebrate?
- Where do we celebrate?
- Why do I celebrate Christmas?
Making It Unique
Older, motivated, or more articulate children can also follow this plan, but instead of writing one paragraph, they can write a longer story by developing a new paragraph to answer each question. And all children should know that it’s okay to rearrange the questions in the order they like best (for example, they might want to start out explaining why).
Using Word Banks
Your children will probably find it helpful to use word banks so they have a pool of vocabulary words available to them. A list of words about celebrating Jesus’ birth can be found at Christmas word banks, part 1: Jesus is born. Also see Christmas word banks, part 2: Ho, ho, ho! for a different assortment of holiday-themed words.
December 2nd, 2009 — Bad Signage Humor, Just for Fun
Typos sharpened, please?
We’ve all seen unnecessary apostrophes, right? But here’s a new one: adding commas where even apostrophes don’t belong. And as if that weren’t bad enough, they’ve graced us with a glaring misspelling as a bonus! Awfully generous, don’t you think?
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Stop by every 1st and 3rd Wednesday for a peek into the world of spelling, punctuation, or grammar gone wrong!
December 1st, 2009 — Holiday & Seasonal Ideas, Word Banks
Here’s another holiday word bank to help inspire your children to write. This time, as they write poems and stories about the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of Jesus—encourage them to stretch their vocabulary by drawing from the following word list that focuses on celebrating Christ.
Christmas Word Bank: Jesus is Born
Christmas, Bible, Word, Scriptures, story, first, Advent, nativity, angel, visit, appear, prophets, prophecy, foretold, virgin, Mary, Joseph, tax, Bethlehem, City of David, journey, crowds, travelers, weary, donkey, innkeeper, room, inn, stable, manger, cave, crèche, crib, hay, straw, swaddling clothes
birth, born, babe, baby, infant, son, Savior (or Saviour), Jesus, Messiah, Christ the Lord, Christ Child, Emmanuel, Redeemer, king, Holy Family
night, star, alleluia, heavenly host, shone, shepherds, flock, sheep, lamb, tidings, miracle, awe, holy, humble, sacred, divine, glorious, glory, worship, pray, kneel, behold, presence, King Herod, Egypt, flee, wise men, magi, kings, camels, following, bearing, bringing, gifts, gold, frankincense, myrrh, rejoicing, praising
world, sin, salvation, save, comfort, love, faith, hope, joy, wonder, peace on earth, holiday, light, bright, shine, family, church, Christmas Eve, midnight, service, Mass, Advent wreath, candles, carols, hymns, songs, spirit, heart, celebrate, gift, goodwill, community, poor, needy, helping, inviting, giving, donating, sharing, serving, blessing, remembering, keeping, treasuring
Copyright 2009 © Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.
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Also see Christmas word banks, part 2: Ho, ho, ho! for more holiday word bank fun!
Share a comment: What writing assignment might you give your children that would call for them to use this word list?